untitled 1: including an in memoriam for Douglas Wright, 14 October 1956 – 14 November 2018

The great Spanish writer—not an opinion, a fact, my friend

He would or he might begin with something suitably self-deprecating—

a reference to another writer, an artist who, perhaps, was more far-sighted,

in not worrying so much about his place in things, worrying at her hems,

edges and scabs, at the places where the body—of work, obviously—comes

undone, as it inevitably does, Douglas Wright died this week, I say this

not to be topical, but in respect of an image and its necessary resonance, or,

let us say, vibration with another—necessary, because the only reason ever

for an image, to initiate one, is to set it up in such a way that it ping

off another, calling everyone, at this overflowing table, to attention with the edge

of a knife, how sharp we will never know, tap against an empty glass—a

game of golf, Douglas in a liminal state induced by drugs of a medical nature,

purportedly, hearing the news, on the radio, a voice: it says, this

this will really really put New Zealand at last put New Zealand New Zealand

on the world the world on the world stage; and voices from a stand of

macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, echoing up over the balcony, in

through an open window, to where Douglas lies, on a couch, in a state

between waking and dreaming, hearing the voices commingle, those

from the stand of macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, where golf

balls often end up being hit by accident, voices of the searchers for the lost

golf balls, calling out, WHERE IS IT? HERE and IT’S OVER HERE,

WHERE? I FOUND IT! and that voice

on the radio, so that … but here I become confused, because the next

image enters, not prematurely, I hope, but soon enough that it sets off

the former image, so that we almost trip over it—HERE

New Zealand on the world stage IT’S OVER HERE

at last—and I would like to champion, at this point, Ghost Dance, the source

of this former image, having its source in its author, Douglas Wright, who

is also, sadly, former, as the greatest artistic autobiography ever written by

a by by a by a New Zealander by a New Zealander … OVER HERE … Lost …

from the world stage, forever. Vila-Matas was the famous Spanish author.

The next image is—can it in all truth be called an image? when it is

a matter of voices?—and Douglas’s voice, I hear his cadences, pronouncing

on the, what was it we had lost? the sense of the strength of movement

coming from the pelvis, that we had lost, in our young dancers—the next

a voice says please

return to your seat

it sweeps the aisle

clear at the same

time David Byrne

is singing another

voice and another

close, Stay in your

lines.

You are being

You are out

of control, Sonny

or is it Girlie?

I have the strange

unwonted accompanying sensations,

not entirely unpleasant, of arms, not entirely unpleasant, only

unwonted, of arms holding me and the hands attempting

to take hold

of the left arm in the classic armlock we know from films, and twist it

behind my back, movies about forced removal

of potentially disruptive and violent—and again

the fit of the words is false, without falsifying, since this is

indeed what we do with miscreants: the bodyguard, no, he is

a security guard, with a beautiful word emblazoned—the most

exaggerated form of embroidery or printing—emblazoned on his back, VENUE

SECURITY all one word, like a gang patch.

Douglas Wright and David Byrne. Douglas was just 62. What is

an age, when you do not grow old?

 

David Byrne David David Byrne amazing fantastic and beautifully

deconstructed in the concert version of American Utopia two

words

venuesecurity at the Spark telco arena, although this makes it sound like

they built it, they did not—do brands maintain their psychosexual overtone?

of having been inflicted in a hot moment of contact—let us say, “the lie

of the land

she meant yes

she meant yes”

 

It was a white and middleclass and quite fat night on the metaphorical bleachers

at the David Byrne concert tonight,

the second encore ended with a rollcall of names of murdered

African-Americans (two words?)

whose killings in racially charged circumstances have elevated them into the hall of martyrs” says Variety

There is an insupportable irony in the fact that my assailants were all brown

because I wanted to dance

 

Dance

is it a health and safety issue that so few serious modern composers who

are accepted as such

commit themselves to music to dance to?

 

Dance

I cannot imagine Douglas Wright dying

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neosurvivalist / naivalist / postoccupy / inhabit?

The End
of The World

It’s over.
Bow your head
and
phone scroll
through
the apocalypse.

from here

and or

Learn to hunt, to code, to heal. .

from there

despite the brilliant and funny analysis given inhabit.global’s website by Ted Byfield [assuming he’s this one] on nettime listserv, I wonder about both Ted’s intention to be funny and inhabit’s intention to be serious, one to be taken one way, the other to be taken one way as well.

a left-leaning bunch of techfriendlies reacts to a naive bunch of reactionary post-politicos–the common ground, to hunt, to code, to heal, would appear to repose in the middle term.

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now i’m listening to kip hanrahan’s beautiful scars and i realise there is no other music for grownups so full of joy sex & politics 3 of my fav things but art too art music art life art rotting with life decomposing on the street sweating in the room shroom is how i am

thanks gareth

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“I wanted to do something worthy of the place” – theatre of writing

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you know when you can’t find that quote you’re looking for so you have to make up your own: on NOTHING

In some cultures–not ours, not yet–nothing and space are so closely related, rather than as a negative instance, rather than as void or absence, nothing comes as welcome relief (from the relentless compulsion to something), where it is like a window on the inside, or a door, opening onto nothing, welcoming you in, to rest there, or bidding you to go on, for nothing.

— see also here

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are there any answers?

Dear Visitor,

Let us engage with the questions:

  1. anthropogenic climate change–is the question of the present, not the future.
  2. ownership of elements: air earth water warmth–China has awoken to Capital, whatever the corporate brandname on it: another question of the present.
  3. health: obesity is a mental illness; mental health is a cultural illness. A question of the present.
  4. the future will be? A question of human cultural regeneration–perhaps the only question of the future?

In our small way we are addressing ourselves to these questions with a view to an answer that is local and directed towards the future.

The means to cultural regeneration are within reach of a modernity that believes in itself–has not lost that belief. This we have found in Benesse Foundation’s Public Capitalist undertakings in Naoshima and Teshima, the ‘art islands’ of the Seto Inland Sea in Japan.

We would like you, dear visitor, to share with Benesse this vision for an answer that is local and directed towards the future:

 

I am writing to you from Waiheke Island.

Waiheke has a similar status in the Hauraki Gulf to Naoshima in the Seto Inland Sea. It is a popular tourist destination: however it attracts visitors more for reasons of its natural beauty than for cultural tourism.

Waiheke is 35 minutes by ferry from the centre of New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland. It currently boasts a resident population of @9,000.

A large proportion of this population is artistically active–this is owing to heritage settlement: it was originally a cheap place to buy and rent, with advantages of a healthy natural lifestyle.

In terms of built infrastructure it is poorly served, with one exception: the Stony Batter site, https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/auckland/places/waiheke-island/stony-batter-historic-reserve/

Built to defend New Zealand in the event of the war in the Pacific extending into the Hauraki Gulf, Stony Batter is largely built underground, with approximately 7km of tunnels.

It has recently been proposed that Stony Batter be developed as a Heritage Site. Submissions are being solicited by Auckland City Council to this end. However, it is our opinion that Stony Batter, on Waiheke Island would be a missed opportunity of giant proportions if it is only developed with a view to low level heritage tourism–which tends to be internal and nationally based.

Stony Batter, Waiheke, commends itself as a site for Global Cultural Tourism.

The as-built aspects of it, the island location, underground and above, the natural surrounding context, are ripe for such development.

Ando, we think, would be impressed with this structure: although built for utilitarian purposes, its aesthetic qualities are evident.

The underground would suit gallery development, with installations taking advantage of the light and sound qualities of the tunnels. The textural and architectural uniqueness of the site would attract and inspire international and local artists to exhibit and install here.

The exterior would suit installations to make the most of the dramatic scenic beauty of Hauraki Gulf and islands.

We humbly bring this to Benesse’s attention on the basis of our recent visits to Naoshima and the sites of cultural tourism–and cultural pilgrimage–located there. Stony Batter Waiheke Island could be such a place with the vision and thinking and good-being/good-doing that is characteristic of Benesse’s Public Capitalist approach. It could be a Southern counterpart to Naoshima and Teshima.

We would add that Benesse’s sensitivity, shown in the development of globally recognised sites for cultural tourism in Naoshima and Teshima, is to the forefront of our considerations in making this recommendation. Waiheke has a long colonial and precolonial history, as well as the heritage to which Stony Batter is a material attestation: the respect we know to inform Benesse’s approach is essential to this project.

We suggest that Benesse follow up with a submission to highlight the advantages of Stony Batter as a site for global cultural tourism (with a smaller heritage element incorporated into the plan). Submissions are currently open until 27 September 2018. Please make your submission here: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/2018/applications/fort-stony-batter-heritage-park-limited/

Please be aware that we present this proposition in good faith and feel free to cite our support for this submission.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Simon Taylor

 

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a found item

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how many does it take to turn things around?

a billion people

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07.08.2018 Tokyo – Yanaka, Auckland – Waiheke

APAhotelresort & Onsen in Shinjuku—left behind with the regret that we will not be revisiting the onsen, which, apart from gaijin who do not wash off soap, and leave scum floating, or, just as bad, who do not wash, and leave grease floating, was the pleasantest pleasance and is—at the distance of half a world from the bench at Oneroa where I write this—a regrettable regret, like that of having to leave Japan at all. Our room there was small but ideal and that too is left behind, from morning, packed and checking out—once more mediated by machine, with reception staff presiding over—, bound for Ueno and Taito city and Yanaka, valley of the temples, whence we could by direct line access Narita later, leaving our luggage in a locker. We were there to visit Scai Bathhouse—an art gallery.

Made our way through the cemetery, under the cherry trees, but Scai Bathhouse was closed; and found an annex to another museum, with the sake casks, an old merchant area this, renowned for textiles.

Observe, act—omit: this was the motto in place for the craftsmen exhibiting at a small store and gallery. The word for craft expressed this motto as the English expresses a certain practical virtuosity or craft. …Relations outside of their terms, I read in Deleuze’s book on Hume, but affirming the unity of ideas, of craft with craft, of observation, action and omission, in the Japanese. And omission was evident in the work displayed, not through the omission of ornamentation, which it was not lacking in, and not through simplification or reduction to essence, purity, but rather through excision: the cutting away to make space. The works worked to open out into the adjacencies of spaces, opening the whole glass or cup, pot or plate, onto parts, sections, the role of which is not to fill or bound space but to affirm space (in section)—: the walls and floor of a room are not positive to the negativity of the space they ‘make’, but that the space made is positive as well, not a void. So it is possible to be ornamented by such space and to be adorned or rich in it. (And, it might said at its expense—but it is always a price worth paying, worth its cost, in ‘space,’ as our 8 tatami room in Osaka proved, where there was a bounded negativity of wholly practical space. How spacious! some online commented; without opening neither onto interior—takonoma—space, nor exterior nature. … The question arises: can nature abhor a vacuum where there can be no nature without the cut? The opening, the window to the room, and the window internal to it, of its own nature?)

Headed for the National Museum of Tokyo, by way of the University of Art and Design, closed, but with a small exhibition supporting that for Kajouti, housed in an old building—again no photos. And went further, into the park, to the brick Art Museum—a bento box exhibition, celebrating the receptacle as well as the lunch ritual, with some artful examples of the former, opening like Chinese boxes, with spaces of different shapes and capacities for food and drink, compositions of form and function both beautiful and practical.

Crowds had gathered outside 10,000 years of Japanese art, and the entry was steep at 15,000 yen. Instead we returned through Yanaka, lunched on chicken hamari—explained to be the insides of the chicken, indicating guts and bits below lungs, explained to be distasteful to foreign visitors, turned out to be gristle from carcase, peppery and sweet, chewy and delicious. We ate at a small collection of traditional buildings, advertising itself as beer hall, communal space—turned out to have craft beer on multitude of taps—lunching women sitting at tasting trays with chicken bowls—, a florist and bakery, the florist looking suitably solemn and funerary, in the bouquets of orchids it had on display, for its proximity to the cemetery, and the bakery more boulangerie than pâtisserie, and a tatami space, also formal and traditional, women in kimono kneeling there: another kind of emptiness with a positive role, clearly in use by the local community; it recalled the experiments of art exhibited at the Mori Art Museum’s Genealogies of Japanese Architecture, of shared spaces, practical in housing, spiritual in templing—if I can say that.

Fumio Asakura’s house, on the return route, after a pop-up store renting bikes, with beautiful handmade inks and fillable pens, with crows hanging around—the reason for the snaps which appear to be of nothing, where there is sometimes a crow in flight: Mr Asakura came from wealth, was tutored in the European art of sculptural representation, and himself taught at his home studio, for no pay, and built the studio, with an 12 or so metre interior height, and traditional Japanese house. But the walls of the studio were not pleasing in raw concrete; there had yet been no Ando to soften the material: so Mr Asakura covered the walls and ceiling with a feathery silk dyed light brown, a silk unmatted, like a longpile velveteen, a fur. He later added a lift capable of lifting 8 metre tall sculptures, well more lowering them, into a basement, in order that his largest works might be relocated. An air of reverence prevailed. We were asked to remove our shoes, which we carried in plastic bags provided for the purpose.

There in the studio, with the flocked walls, flocked in dyed-lightbrown silk, was a seated figure, who looked like an English schoolmaster—as you’d imagine, although American, and although neither English nor American, the principal character in Stoner—, cast in bronze, solid chair, a thin man in glasses and formal scholarly dress, fully eight metres tall. He sat over the lift trapdoor. A series of life-size studies accompanied him: portrait busts, to life, and generic-faced female nudes in symbolic groupings; upstairs a collection of bronze cats, one with a rat; then, in the library, a human skeleton, Mr Asakura’s diminutive contemporary, the skeleton of a rat at his feet. The attendant informed us the roofgarden was closed, where Mr Asakura required his students to practice gardening and grow vegetables. His family home, a traditional Japanese house, was, however, open. Built around an old and beautiful Japanese garden, it too was old, beautifully proportioned and appointed in every detail—even to the verdigrised downpipes, square profile, in graduated sizes, proportionate to the rooves served—, with a tearoom, giving onto a pond, with koifish the largest either of us had ever seen, fish which might have been alive at the time of Mr Asakura and his family. The house was also huge—a mansion by standards local and contemporary, a product of family wealth.

Now I write this, already days have passed. The visual memory remains, the impressions become, however, like the female nudes of Mr Asakura, somehow generic. And I realise that having constrained myself to the remarkable over the course of these entries, that now the remarkable from its close-up urgency and specificity pulls out to longshot, tilt-angle even, and I could continue describing, as if describing a lilliput or fantasy, the places, each place, when I ought really to sum up—something of equal difficulty to retaining the life in the texture of description: I will note that beside me on the return journey, this time 9 and a half hours, our endbracket to our trip Shanshan typhoon approaching to “smash Tokyo”, I sat by a man who’d lived all his life in Tokyo. He told me—call me, as my friends do, Ai-san; it is my nickname—in his whole life he had never known a typhoon to approach from the north-east: it is a sign of change, he said.

One last note: such energy goes in to marking out oneself where I come from; people so aggressively individual; a need to be heard and seen here, where I have returned. The culture of advertising and public relations carries on this … need? Is it? Japanese ads are talkative, graphically overloaded, often crammed with too much information, but not so shouty, not so needy. In a place where spirits, dami, are in all things, animate and inanimate, there is not perhaps this competitive urgency; there is, however, no doubt another.

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06.08.2018 Shinjuku, Roppongi

The galleries and the art—you might as well say all other ends—are as nothing to the city. Benesse’s ethically informed and ecological business, putting the engine of capitalism to scaling up a public and cultural interest, are nothing beside the electricity bill of a single district, beside just the electricity bill of Shinjuku.

We went to Mori Art Museum today—again the policing of photography, so few snaps, an exhibition tracing genealogies of architecture in a Japanese cultural context—and the idea of scale was given graphic representation, of human scale: the measurement of a standing body, the reach of an arm, the height of a seat under a seated body, the headheight of one sitting on the floor, the length of a footstep and a stride. But there is also a scale to human dreams; there is a scale to a life: and to the dreams of one living. The question What is to be done? is abstract, purely speculative, beside the question What do you want to do? What do you want to do? expresses a human scale. However What are they doing? What are they doing behind their counters? What are they doing walking in the streets? What are they doing working? What are they doing paying for the service provided? What are they doing looking at the local colour? What are they doing using the subway? What are they doing at the nuclear plant? These are questions that scale up rapidly to encompass other ends: What? What, the energy you draw from the thermonuclear reaction is just for the trains? It is just for the lights? It is just so at night you can carry on selling yakotori at night? (The energy for the hibachi barbecues comes from charcoal … but the charcoal is shipped into the centre of Shinjuku … and so is the meat, as are the vegetables, the drinks. The glasses are from factories. The beer is from an industrial brewery. Consider the size of Asahi: Asahi also supplies streetvending machines; it manufactures peppermints … at least its brand is on peppermints.)

What is every good effort at improving human life compared to the dreams of one living now? Who is not Japanese, serving in Memory Lane, at a yakotori counter barely over a metre wide. But who is Chinese, as are the two women working with her. They are studying at university. What you asked was—put in mind of the women running the ramen place in Kyoto—Is this business yours? The answer given: We are not Japanese. We are Chinese. I am a student. What are you studying? Business studies.

Where do you come from? New Zealand. I would like to go there. To New Zealand? Yes. It is big. It is bigger here! No—more… space. Yes.

To try and get closer to the question: Will you find a Japanese man? No. Japanese man drinks too much. In New Zealand… No. New Zealand men don’t drink at all! Laughter.

Another of the young women was also studying business. In Japan for 4 years, she dreamed of going to New Zealand. This was her dream. She was shy, shy about not having very much English.

Stepping out into the street, after the most expensive meal we’ve had here, we were immediately among the throngs of tourists, all attracted to these few lanes and alleys—Memory Lane!—by a recommendations of others. Look at them, with their cellphones, getting as close as they could to the natives in the area, in their tiny bars, doing their native things in their native tongues, drinking and eating and talking—pressed tightly together in their native humanity. But we are not Japanese.

And then the play of lights above, in the streets, the signage, the displays just for the sake of display: the scale of the city.

The press of people is Japanese. Genealogies of architecture in Japan, from Japan, and the Japanese influence on the contemporary world—of architecture and architectural thinking—did not include the press of bodies, the scale of one compressed on the subway. I felt the bones of the short woman in front of me, in the squeeze.

We were trying not to panic. It was the Oedo line, Roppongi to Shinjuku, the return trip from Mori Art Museum, just after 6pm. The first train that pulled up, although we were only three or four people back in the queue, we did not board. The way to board, when the press is so great, is backwards, pushing back first into the others in the doorway cavity. Then, use the door jambs and overhead lintel for leverage to pull in your legs and arms. If the doors can’t close, they will reopen, so you can push harder back, and pull in the remaining foot or hand. You are holding your bag close against you.

The second train came and J. was determined. The price of success was to be squashed tight in the door area—those standing in the aisle protected their space; those seated were safe. We were squashed so tightly I could not raise my arms. And with a righteous indignation that is embarrassing, when the press increased, with one large guy determined to get on, we yelled Hey! This did attract attention. But the large guy, using the lintel to pull his body in through the door, did get on—the skin of his face would have been pressed against the glass windows of the door, like we had seen with the earlier train: vacuum-sealed skin, faces, arms, bodies.

The fear was that at the ensuing stations—we had seven to cover—more people would be waiting, more would squeeze on: and what if the train broke down? Or what if there was some kind of scare and the crowd got spooked? What if we lost our footing and fell?

At the next station, a few got off, and more got on, but we had made our way, like those puzzles where you slide letters around a square with only one space free, to the corner, to the door opposite the one where we boarded. We had breathing space. I could grab the hanging strap and handle. Another gaijin next to me: he was using his back as a baffle and concentrating on his phonescreen.

What we decided we had meant by Hey! was Hey! That’s enough! That’s not how we do things! … And it was really unnecessary. These people, determined to board, to the discomfort of others, would know there would be another train along in minutes. Another question—because once on, J. said let’s get off, at the next station; we didn’t: If we had not got on the train, had known what we were in for, how long would have had to wait before the commuting press subsided? Or would we have walked? Right across Tokyo.

The Golden Gai, like Memory Lane—tourist gaijin prowling, cellphones at eyeheight.

But the snaps you want—the world is not designed for you either.

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